Stage 5

Episode Reviews (14)

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  • 9.0

    This episode has set the tone for some key characters, and The New Jersey & New York Mob Family's future dealings with each other.

    By DWBSR620, Apr 19, 2007

    Okay this week’s Sopranos gave us a little more insight into what’s to come, and needless to say it appears Christopher and Tony are set on a collision course with an outcome that will leave only one standing. My thoughts are that Christopher doesn’t have many episodes left, and that he will not be the one standing. This week there are two prevalent themes that are showcased one being the death of Johnny Sack and The New York Mob, and the deterioration of Tony in Christopher’s relationship. With two episodes down and 7 left I expect soon that things are going to start to heat up. Sadly we find that Johnny Sack has only three months left because he is dying of lung cancer, and given the amount of cigarettes he smoked it’s of little surprise. Although seeing Johnny Sack in such a bad condition was surprising given all the years that we’ve seen him in top form as that prototypical gangster it was sad to see him go out like that. Next we skip over to Christopher’s new film “Cleaver” which is a horror film that the main character was obviously based on Tony, and the problem is that Tony fails to realize that the portrayal of him is not necessarily good, so Carmela opens Tony’s eyes to the fact that it’s not a positive portrayal of him. Carmela further points out to Tony that this is basically a fantasy revenge film, in which Christopher uses a boss similar too Tony right down to the bathrobe. The wise guy seeking to kill the boss with a Cleaver to the head exacting revenge, and in the film the boss has an affair with the attractive girlfriend which is a throwback to season five when Christopher had thought that Tony and Adriana had an affair which resulted from gossip after Tony and Adriana had a car accident in the middle of the night on a back road while Christopher was out-of-town. This incident resulted in Tony almost having to kill Christopher after Christopher drew down on Tony, and shot up Tony’s car as well . Though at first Tony found the movie entertaining, that is only until Carmela made him aware of the negative image that was portrayed of him, and then Tony became deeply disturbed. Tony in therapy had expressed to his Dr. the sadness that he felt realizing that this is how Christopher sees him. So she tried to see if Tony may be just reading too much into it, when Tony told her that he’s been in therapy too long, and that at this point he understands the subconscious. So pretty much no matter what is said he is now convinced Christopher subconsciously feels this way about him, and it hurt him that after all this time this is how Christopher feels towards him even with all they’ve been through together. Tony has been grooming Christopher to one-day take over the business it’s obvious that that isn’t going to happen unless something drastically changes over the next episode or two. But it’s doubtful at this point that Tony is going to take any positive look at him, and I believe Christopher will be one of the major characters that don’t make it. Christopher’s become a threat to Tony it’s obvious in Tony’s mind now, and Tony’s not one to ignore threats so close too home. There are a number of scenarios that could play out in Tony’s mind with Christopher that weigh against him. One is the fact that Tony had Adrianna killed, no matter what Christopher loved her and has brought up many times too Tony the sacrifice he made for him. Tony could see Christopher still harboring hatred towards him because of that. Second Christopher is wrapped up in the movie business now so Tony may feel that his head is no longer in the business, and that Christopher no longer makes that his priority, remember it was brought up that Christopher never comes around the Bing no more. Thirdly last season Christopher lied too Tony about that woman he was seeing on the side that Tony was interested in, and only came clean about it after being seen with her, having lied repeatedly to Tony prior to that. Fourth the relapses with drugs is one that if he is caught, and Tony finds out how deep his relapses are well that is definitely a big issue that’s been addressed in detail right before Christopher went to rehab with the consequences of him totally relapsing again. The fact that Christopher has a wife and kid could also make him more of a liability if caught with drugs or something big that would worry Tony that Christopher would flip with the Feds. Big P. Bonpensiero you recall after being caught and facing serious jail time flipped. He was a long time member of the Mob that wired up for a while before being caught by Tony, and then was put down by his closest friends Tony, Paulie, and Silvio. Tony weighing all these issues, and convinced Christopher subconsciously feels the way he does makes a serious case against Christopher that puts him high on the endangered mobster list. As it stands Tony no longer sees Christopher as the future to run the family anymore, that’s been made pretty clear at this stage, so it’s just a matter of how he’s going to go. The only thing that could save him is if he gets wind of his status and flips before he’s gotten too, although I don’t think that’s going to be the case there is always that remote chance. Unless Christopher goes out as part of some retaliation against Jersey by New York, that also could be a remote possibility. This brings up the next big thing, New York and Phil, who doesn’t see retirement in his near future now. After having a birthday party for his deceased brother, who was killed as we remember by Tony’s cousin in season five, it appears to have opened up old wounds again so that’ll factor into Phil’s decisions when dealing with Jersey. With the death of Johnny Sack near the end of the episode the power vacuum went into play and with one hit, as well as Little Carmine declaring his intentions to not be throwing his hat in, but retiring out quietly with his family, Phil seems to have grabbed hold of the reins with both hands declaring business as usual is no more. With that declaration all bets are off, a new day has come for how New York does business, and I’m guessing this will lead up too a clash of New Jersey and New York. They’ve chummed the water with this episode and I suspect the frenzy too start in the very near future. Take care. Peace To All.moreless

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  • 9.5

    Great episode with alot of building towards for the final 7 episodes.

    By Jarkin770, Apr 16, 2007

    I think last night's episode was excellent, really paving the way for the last seven episodes. Some people didn't like it, but if you appreciate characterization and other forms of english, you realize this show was great, with the tension mounting between Phil/NY and Tony/Chris, you know this show is going to end with a bang. Even when the episodes aren't good, it's better than anything else on TV.

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  • 8.0

    Well Johnny Sack is dead, the NY family is in shambles, Chris FINALLY finished the movie & Tony seems to be loosing his back bone. The next 6 episodes should be riveting! Can’t wait!What a set up! Now things really get good!!

    By jrueda51, Apr 16, 2007

    I thought the episode was great,Meadow dumps Finn(what a looser! She was way to good for him!), Chis finishes his movie (with Tony's $$$ & approval), Johnny Sack dies, the New York Family is "OFFING THEMSELVES" to see who ends up boss, Paulie is as insensitive as always, Carmela assumes Tony has sex with Adriana, Chris is persona non-gratta and things are getting thick! This episode is a great set-up for what is comming up next, and things are going to get worse, way worse for Tony before they get any better. David Chase has come full circle and this is either going to make or break Tony Soprano!moreless

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  • 9.0

    "There IS no stage five." The body count begins...

    By wyldrein, Apr 16, 2007

    Hopefully this episode diminishes the whinging from those detractors who say that The Sopranos has lost its oooph. Unless your idea of high drama and good writing is one of those ridiculous 'reality' type shows, you'd be hardpressed to not find this episode riveting, revealing and definitely mounting the tension. I'm sorry to see the end of Johnny Sack--even when I was annoyed at him, I was mesmerized by his character. On the other hand, every time I look at Christopher I want to smack him with a cleaver myself! This means brilliant acting on the part of Michael Imperioli, and damn fine writing by Chase and Company. It's anyone's guess as to who will whack who--I'm hoping that Tony orders a hit on the great director before Christopher's hotheadedness finally sees him doing the unforgiveable.moreless

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  • 9.5

    This episode features some of the finest writing and acting of the season, if not the entire series. It's like a Sopranos' Greatest Hits (pun intended)! All of the classic elements are there, and one can feel the juggernaut gathering steam...

    By rockin01, Apr 16, 2007

    The more I think about this episode, the more I find to like. It's like a mash-up of all the things I adore about this show:



    The meta moments abound: How cool was that opening scene? It took me a few moments to realize that it was from Cleaver. And the parallels between the film and real life just kept on coming. Loved the obvious homages to The Godfather! While I initially felt the Johnny Sack cancer thing was kinda contrived, the excellent writing and powerful acting in those scenes won me over. Special mention goes to Sidney Pollack as the murderous prison hospital orderly (the scene where he calmly recounts the killing spree that got him locked up is worth the price of admission alone- "At that point, I had to fully commit." Priceless line.



    The ensemble cast is such a Dream Team of actors, and they have really found the perfect pace and tone with each other. Nearly everyone brought their "A" game to this ep. All we lack now is an appearance from Uncle Junior.



    The whacking of The Hairdo- what a scene! Again, it took me a few seconds to realize what I was seeing. Masterfully done!



    Melfi's appearance, though brief, imparted the usual insight into Tony's psyche.



    And the inexorably mounting tension between T and Christopher is scary... I guess we all know where this is leading.



    And did I mention the writing. From the title of the episode on (Stage 5- there are only 4 stages of cancer. Or could it be referring to the 5 stages of grief?), the writing has never been crisper. The foreshadowing and atmospheric sense of impending doom are being expertly built, and I'm even enjoying the numerous malapropisms. Alan King should get a co-writing credit.



    This is a must-see installment. I think future episodes will only reinforce the importance and pivotal nature of many of the events we witnessed in Stage 5.



    This one had it all, from the sacred to the propane. Chase, you're killin' me, man...moreless

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  • 8.0

    This episode continues the set up for the finale. At least it was not boring like the previous one. Let's see what happens.

    By QuakertownBob, Apr 16, 2007

    The movie was called mediocre by others and Hello, have you seen any of these movies, mediocre is a compliment, those slasher type movies are terrible but money makers.

    For someone who watches the show, Carmela thinks that Christopher killed Adriana, not knowing that she was killed because she was an informant, and Tony is not going to tell her.

    OK, they needed some filler time for this episode, so they had the Sunday dinner filler, where we find out that Fin is finished and that it seems that Anthony Jr. girlfriend is angry at him, she probably found out he was playing hide the salami with someone else, guess it runs in the family. The question is what happened to his construction job, and does he own the pizzeria.

    As for Christopher, they did tie his missing into making of the movie and getting clean, again, but the also used that to get Juliana Marguiles from the show.

    Johnny Sack and his disfuctional mob family, was interesting. The hit, the power vacuum and Phil Leotardo now knowing that his promise to Johnny is done, is going to put the hit out on Christopher, but I think he will try to do it himself to give the name a legacy.

    But then Tony is not happy with Christopher either, so maybe Phil will be shooting a corpse.moreless

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  • 5.5

    This might be the most unsatisfying show. If the ratings are any indication, other people have managed to stop watching the Sopranos. Why can't I be one of those people?!

    By Jay_Dubb, Apr 16, 2007

    This episode is packed with metaphor, meaning, and boredom. Let me just say that some of us took psychology courses and still find this show boring. If it was not apparent from last week's episode, the Sopranos beat you over the head with Tony's struggle with mortality, while Chris works to immortalize himself with B-movies. Tony, meanwhile, is bringing Bobby closer into his circle (another Stage 5? who knows) to replace Chris. Chris' inability to accomplish something without upsetting Tony (or perhaps his inability to accomplish anything without Tony) is starting to have repurcussions. All last season Tony struggled to define who he was after Junior shot him. Now we see that his god-son/cousin/protege defines Tony in a very unflattering way.



    What the show lacks though is entertainment. Johnny Saks dies of natural causes?! I understand what it represents (btw, anyone else notice the irony that Johnny told his wife to stop crying when Johnny cried like a little b**ch at his daughter's wedding?), but there are many ways Saks could have died and still propel the themes forward. And does anyone care that there is no "stage 5"?



    If my two cents are worth anything, here is what I think the show could do to appease the 13 year-olds who like violence (guilty) and the psychology 101 college know-it-all students:

    1. AJ gets dumped by his girlfriend because she wants a man and not a man-boy. AJ then joins the family business. We all know AJ has the criminal smarts and can throw a kick-ass beer party (literally, kick-ass). AJ "pops his cherry" by shooting his cousin, Chris. Another way that could go down is AJ is recruited by Leotardo, and AJ shoots Tony.



    2. Bobby shoots the disloyal Paul Walnuts who is revealed to be an informant. No one wants to see Walnuts go since he is arguably the second most entertaining character, but his disloyalty is too much to take.



    3. Tony and the rest of the crew engage in an all-out bloodbath in a war against Leotardo's crew. Nearly everyone dies except for Tony. Once he realizes that everyone around him as died and there is a power vacuum that is going to be filled by young, anonymous mobsters, Tony & Carmela go into the witness protection program. The Sopranos ends with Tony getting his newspaper outside his Arizona home, ala Joey Bonanno, representing Tony's difficult struggle to choose his wife over his mob family.moreless

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  • 7.0

    It was a good episode but it was slow and it was mostly filled with subtle but possibly important plot developments.

    By PickyTVGuy, Apr 16, 2007

    It was a good episode but it was slow and it was mostly filled with subtle but possibly important plot developments. Johnny Sac died. Gerry what's his name was killed, Carmine Lupertazzi Jr, declines wanting to be the next NY boss. Phil Leotardo seems to have an axe to grind. All these things can possibly lead to trouble down the line for Tony. The whole episode was like this. While this is key for developing certain things that will happen in the future it didn't make for particularly interesting episode.



    Carmella is getting really suspicious about Adrianna, Christopher and Tony.



    AJ's girlfriend seemed to be in a bad mood throughout the episode, but they never totally explained why. Is it possible that she is just a *****, and her newness is beginning to wear off? Or is something else going on?



    Christopher appears to have terminated his affair but will it come back to haunt him somehow?



    We just have to stay tuned and hope it will get much more exciting soon.moreless

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  • 9.5

    Well, well, well....Christopher, what is up with you?

    By kipwiz, Apr 16, 2007

    I know have a feeling what the main storyline for the end of the show is going to focus on. Christopher and Tony's relationship. I'm thinking it is not going to end nicely. I'm glad Tony's not stupid when J.T. tried to say it was his writing when it came to the fiance bit in the movie. Christopher has to know what and who Tony is. Christopher turned in Adrianna himself, did he think they were going to slap her hand and send her on her way? What's worse, Tony sleeping with her or sending her to her death? It was more Christophers fault than Tony's, and he's making Tony pay. Poor Johnny Sacks, didn't last 1 week let alone 3 months. And I think Christopher has to watch his back now.moreless

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